As I edit my writing I am creating the form that is meant for that piece of work.’
Gaylene Perry is a fiction writer and memoirist. She isn't overly fond of drawing a strict distinction between such genres, and tends only to do so when thoughts of publication arise.
I tend to choose tiny moments in time,’ she says, ‘
or tiny pieces of material - such as an object, a photograph, a few words - and to extrapolate my stories from there.’
Gaylene does what many writers do – or at least those without independent wealth or a fondness for penury – she writes in the gaps of a busy life and in intense bursts. ‘
I write mostly at night,’ she says, ‘
but I also like to write on trains and buses - this is a great way to sneak some writing time.’
There is a commonly held view that technology is eroding the craft of writing, but Gaylene exemplifies a more traditional approach. Her early drafts are handwritten, and she writes ‘
in small pieces that then turn into larger pieces.’ When she transfers a work to computer she remains reluctant to cut and paste.
Editing, she claims, is the main work of writing. ‘
Ideas are fine,’ she says, ‘
but expression is what truly matters.’ This sort of craft approach democratises creativity and perhaps exemplifies writing's place in academia.
However, this does not discount what Lorca called duende. ‘
For a piece of writing to stand out from the ordinary,’ Gaylene says, ‘
it needs a certain sparkle, a specialness that cannot be necessarily defined or described.’